Minutes of Parish Council Meeting 2nd November 2022

Minutes of meeting no 2nd November 2022

A brief summary of the key elements of the October PC meeting held on 2nd November 2022. As well as receiving regular reports they discussed:

  • Preparation for 2023-24 Budgets,
  • Christmas tree,
  • Local Highways Panel & Speed Watch,
  • Zebra Crossing at Colchester Road,
  • Care Network’s warm welcoming space project,
  • Parish Office project,
  • Broadband, and
  • National Grid Pylons.

Minutes of the Parish Council Meeting

Held on Wed 2nd November 2022 (October meeting) at 7.30 pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, CO6 3BW

Chairman:Cllr Brian Butcher
Parish Councillors Present:Cllrs Bob Tyrrell, James Owers, David Short, Harry Stone, Andrew Savage, John Gili-Ross, Sara Cullis & Katie Pulford
Parish ClerkLaura Walkingshaw
Borough & County Councillors:None
Present:0 members of the public

22/136         Receive/accept apologies and welcome to the public

RESOLVED – Apologies were received and accepted from Cllrs Manya Barrow & Joel Fayers.

22/137         Questions from registered electors

There were no questions from registered electors.

22/138         Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.

22/139         Previous Minutes

RESOLVED – the Minutes of the Parish Council meeting held on Wednesday 28th September 2022 were approved and signed by the Chairman, with no amendments. (See link to PC Minutes P6 Sept 22)

22/140         Report from Colchester Borough and Essex County Councillors

There was no report from Colchester Borough or Essex County Councillors.

22/141         Finance

a)   Statement of accounts for Sept 2022

The final accounts for Sept 22 (50% through financial year) were presented as follows: (See link to PC Accounts P6 Sept 22)

Receipts at 100%, General Expenditure 34%, Environment Expenditure 59%, Overall Expenditure 38%. Bank Rec at £ 153,060.55 on 30th September 2022. Second half of the precept has now arrived.

b)   Payments

RESOLVED – To approve the October payments lists in accordance with 2022-23 budget. Proposed by Cllr Stone, seconded by Cllr Owers. All in favour.

Payments Oct 2022

DDBarclaysBank charges (11.58-1.24)10.34
DDICOAnnual data protection fee35.00
DDPWLBPublic Works Loan (Nov 22)2684.13
SOJ & M Payroll ServicesOct – wages, tax & NI4,500.00
PC22117Atlas SignsBulletin printing – June 221,026.48
PC22118Friends of Hillhouse WoodAllotment stall donation300.00
PC22119J & M Payroll ServicesOct – wages tax & NI501.17
PC22120J & M Payroll ServicesPayroll services27.00
PC22121WBFCGrass cutting Oct – LD Field50.00
PC22122CountrywideGrass cutting Oct – Poor’s Land186.00
PC22123EALC3 copies of Good Councillor Guide16.77
PC22124EALCTraining – Cllr Training Days 1 & 2 – SC240.00
PC22125Colchester Methodist CircuitBus shelter rent – Methodist stop129.00
PC22126Petty CashStamps – allotments31.28
PC22127Atlas SignsBulletin printing – Sept 221,026.48
PC22128Laura WalkingshawStationery, Land Registry fees, postage, wreath92.37
PC22129Andrew SavageiPhone XS, phone cover & screen savers x 2 241.08
PC22130John Gili-RossTravel expenses39.00
PC22131Brian ButcherTravel expenses & Danish oil43.19
PC22132KingServWebsite support (Nov-Jan 23), domain registration664.55

c)    To receive a verbal update on the preparation work for the 2023-24 budgets.

Cllr Savage will be attending next month’s cycle of meetings in order to begin the budget preparation work.

ACTION – Clerk to provide an update on the current position of the Environment budgets.

d)   To receive a verbal update from the Staffing Sub-Committee on the process to find an Assistant to the Parish Clerk.

Closing date for applications was the 18th October. 7 applications have come in, Cllrs Savage & Stone, of the Staffing Sub-committee, will assess who progresses onto the interview stage.

22/142         Planning

a)   The following decisions made by the West Bergholt Parish Council Planning Committee at their meeting on 19th October 2022 were noted (See link to Planning P7 Oct 22):

222372 – 36 Lexden Road – SUPPORT – The Parish Council supports this application, with no comment.

222418 – Holly Tree House, 44a New Church Road – SUPPORT – The Parish Council supports this application, with no comment.

222100 – land adj. 155 Colchester Road (amended plans) – OBSERVATION – In addition to the previous comment (below), the Parish Council is content with the amended plans, subject to approval being conditional on the annex only being occupied by dependent relatives and that it is not sold or let separately to the applicant’s main property. 

Previous Comment: The Parish Council previously objected to an application on this site as it is outside the settlement boundary of West Bergholt, thus contrary to policies PP9, PP10 and PP12 of the Neighbourhood Plan 1 and to part 2 of recently adopted Local Plan, in particular para 6.227 and policy SS15. However, having won on appeal, WBPC understands that the site will now be developed noting that the proposal is well designed and in keeping with the adjacent Hill House, and in accord with the N P’s Village Design Statement.

213465 – land adj. Rosaville, White Hart Lane, CO6 3DB (Appeal notification) – letter to PINS (Planning Inspectorate) sent from WBPC on 26th Oct 2022 reflecting previous objection comments.

ACTION – Cllr Butcher will send a copy of the appeal letter to the Clerk for her records

b)   To receive an update from the Planning Committee on the amendments required to the Neighbourhood plan:

The Planning Committee discussed the amendments needed and wrote to Simon Cairns at CBC for his view on the proposals. His initial response was very positive at the proactive way in which West Bergholt wishes to keep its Neigh Plan current. He has now passed it onto the CBC Officer who previously liaised with the Parish Council, we await to here from her. Once the Planning Committee has met with her, they will bring back any changes to the full council for ratifying.

22/143         Environment & Highways

a)   To note the minutes of the Environment Committee meeting of the 13th October 2022

  • Hedges have been cut by a new contractor, who has done an excellent job. The Handymen followed up with clearing any debris from the gardens along Henderson Place.
  • Some clearance of the ponds has been undertaken.
  • The road/street signs have been checked for dirt & obstructions.
  • The information board on the Heath has been copied, thanks to some great work by Cllr Short and will be replaced very soon. There is some damage to the posts, but that will be repaired and re-painted.

ACTION – the road leading up to the Blue Bridge needs flagging up to ECC that it is now dangerous. A letter is needed to Cllr Scott, with a copy to Jane Gardner.

ACTION – Cllr Barber has requested another list of potholes. Suggested sites were:

  • Mumford Rd/Lexden Rd
  • B1508 by the Blue Bridge
  • Orpen Close/Lexden Rd
  • Entire length of Argents Lane – issues with water running down it as the drains were never raised – technically Eight Ash Green parish, but still covered by Cllr Barber in his County role.

ACTION – Cllr Savage requested that the Clerk report the broken streetlight at Garling Walk to ECC.

b)   To discuss/agree the Parish Christmas Tree for 2022

Cllr Owers has been working on this on behalf of the Environment Committee. He reported:

  • Two trees have been suggested, one at the village sign & one at the Queen’s Head, with temporary electric lights, subject to sponsorship.
  • Debra Hornigold, who instigated last year’s tree, has been consulted and is happy to be involved once again.
  • A local landowner will be asked to donate a tree.
  • Will use the putlog straight into the ground this year, but will think of a long term solution next.

RESOLVED – it was agreed to progress the Christmas Tree project and bring it back to next month’s meeting.

c)    To provide a guide to the work of the Local Highways Panel and Speed Watch.

Cllr Gili-Ross provided an explanation of both organisations work:

Speed Watch

Speed Watch is a voluntary organisation run outside of the Parish Council. West Bergholt and Eight Ash Green volunteers work together as a group, there are 5 active volunteers, but are always looking for more. It is administered by the Fire and Rescue Service. It runs well, with the date and sites approved in advance (2 on the B1508, 1 at the Mumford Rd/Lexden Rd junction and 1, less used, on the Mumford Rd/Chapel Rd junction). Safe signs are put up with the information collected on the day uploaded automatically.

Those who are caught speeding will get a letter, if they are caught three times then they get a knock on the door. If Speed Watch is out twice in one week, then it definitely has an effect with a lot less cars caught speeding the second time. The purpose is to make people think and lower their speed rather than catching people out. If anyone is interested in joining, they can contact the Parish Clerk for the contact details and will need to undergo some training.

Local Highways Panel

The Local Highways Panel (LHP) has been going for a number of years now, following an ECC decision to get more local input into what gets decided. ECC puts money in the Local Highways pot then each district gets to decide. The panel is made up of County and District Councillors, with 2 Parish Council representatives for Colchester in attendance, who have full voting rights. Examples of the type of work approved in West Bergholt includes the VAS (Vehicle Activated Signs), hatch work on the zebra crossing and drainage work to corner of Nayland/Colchester Road.

It is complicated, there is a rolling programme meaning that if a request was submitted now, it would now become part of next year’s programme and budget as this year’s is already allocated up to the end of the financial year. CALC (Colchester Association of Local Councils) elects a LHP representative, and Cllr Gili-Ross represents all of the Parish & Town Councils in the borough. The fund is administered by ECC and all information is available online from Essex.

22/144         Zebra Crossing on Colchester Road

To receive a verbal update on the provision of a zebra crossing on Colchester Road

Cllr Butcher has written a long email to Cllr Lee Scott, the Portfolio Holder for Highways Maintenance and Sustainable Transport, requesting an update. He has apologised for the lack of communication from Essex Highways and sent an email stating that there will be a response in 14 days.

22/145         Care Network

To receive an update on the Care Network proposal, with WBPC’s support, to provide a warm welcoming space at the Social Club meeting room for a trial period during the coming winter months.

Cllr Stone explained to the Council that this is now up and ready to start on Monday 7th Nov. Some volunteers have been recruited for the Monday & Friday morning sessions, however having a few more volunteers would help. There is a grant now available from Essex County Council, which the Care Network will apply for shortly, once it has been running a little while and can understand what is needed. The Social Club members have been particularly helpful in setting this up.

ACTION – Cllr Stone will apply for the grant as soon as possible as Care Network Chairman and will then inform Cllr Savage, so that then the Orpen Memorial Trust could apply for money towards the toilet refurbishment work.

22/146         Communications

a)   To receive a verbal update on the Councillor email addresses from Councillor Owers.      

 Cllr Owers informed the Council that the .gov domain had now been applied for, there now follows a long roadmap of what happens after it is supplied. The licence application is what takes the time, so the Council can only wait at present.

b)   To receive the monthly report from the Publicity Officer, Councillor Fayers 

Cllr Fayers was not at the meeting and so there was no report. 

c)    To note receipt of the Monthly Website Report from the webmaster, Dave Kingaby, and receive any feedback from him on last month’s actions.

The outstanding items which were discussed at last month’s meeting have now been removed, leaving just two items; the solution to the Cookie issues and the server for .gov emails as discussed in item 22/146a.

22/147         Parish Office

To receive a verbal update from Councillor Tyrrell

This is a Parish Council sponsored project for which three initial drawings have now been submitted from Steve McLean. Cllr Tyrrell will be discussing them with Steve shortly.

22/148         Broadband in the Village

To receive an update from Councillor Owers on the availability of superfast broadband in the village

Cllr Owers has submitted his update on the Broadband situation in the village (See link to item 22_148 Report to Council – Broadband).  Unfortunately, Cllrs Barrow & Owers have drawn a blank researching this issue as there is no government help available to improve the current situation. There isn’t a short-term solution, but they will however continue to explore 3rd party funding. The Chairman thanked both Councillors for all of their hard work on this and asked that they come back and report to council as and when there is any more information.

22/149         National Grid Pylons

To receive an update on National Grid’s East Anglian GREEN Project

The Parish Council received a copy of the Summary of the National Grid Electricity Transmission (NGET) response to questions raised by Offshore Electricity Grid Task Force (OffSET) at a meeting chaired by Sir Bernard Jenkin of Monday 18 July 2022 in regard to the East Anglia Green Energy Enablement Project (East Anglia GREEN) to erect pylons across East Anglia. Cllr Short has provided a background paper with a summary of the points raised.

He summarized that the point East Anglia GREEN was making is that the sea route is vastly more expensive than erecting pylons across the countryside. The Council could ask them to do an underground comparison for this area, but for that the cables have to be sited quite far away from each other (unlike when in the air on a pylon) and so it creates an approx.100m trench, resulting in a big scar in the landscape.

ACTION – Cllr Short will draft a letter to ask them to justify their figures and investigate cost of underground cabling, copying to the Pylons group and Sir Bernard Jenkin.

22/150         Training/Networking Events

To note & receive feedback from the training/networking undertaken during the last month by Councillors or the Clerk:

  • Cllr Training Days 1 & 2 – 8th & 29th Oct 22 – Cllr Cullis
    Cllr Cullis reported that 19 people took part in this training, so it took a while for introductions and individual questions. She suggested it would be a better use of time if the first day should be face to face and the second day online.
  • CALC Meeting – 6th Oct 22 – Cllrs Butcher & Gili-Ross
    Included an interesting talk from Sergeant Rob Temme, of the Colchester Community Policing Team, who will be sending the slides of his presentation for circulation with the minutes shortly. Cllr Butcher has now been elected as a EALC rep on the CIF panel.
  • RCCE AGM – 5th Oct 22 – Cllr Butcher
    Nothing to report back. It was a fairly standard AGM, with networking afterwards.
  • Meeting with internal auditor – 1st Nov – Cllr Savage & the Clerk
    RFO and Clerk have had a very interesting meeting with the internal auditor in regard to finalizing the Finance Advisory Committee’s Terms of Reference. Have been advised to create a guide/manual for the Parish Council’s role as sole trustee, setting out the procedures for all 5 trusts so that things are not repeated in several places.

.22/151        Items to Note

  • Playground Advisory Group update – held a meeting 4 weeks ago, currently chasing funds. Next meeting is scheduled for February. Nothing to update at present.
  • Crime Statistics – 4 crimes reported in Sept-Oct: 2 phone thefts and also thefts from a garage & a garden.
  • Village of the Year 2023 –If launched by the RCCE next month would hope the newer members of the Council would take on the application for Village of the Year. Not about the best kept village but awarded for good community engagement. Cllr Stone would be happy to share all the information he has from previous, successful applications.
  • A refurbished mobile phone has been purchased by WBPC, which the Clerk will now be using for Parish Council business and so please note the new Parish Council number will be 07726 424419.
  • Survey on the Funding for Policing and Fire & Rescue Services 2023/24 is now available online, https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/PFCCprecept2023-24/

22/152         Items for next agenda

  • Budget preparation 2023-24
  • Finance, Policy & Personnel Advisory Committee – Terms of Reference
  • Field Working Party – Terms of Reference
  • Invitation to a representative from the West Bergholt Doctor’s Surgery
  • Update on the toilet refurbishment
  • Invite Sergeant Rob Temme to Feb PC meeting.

22/153         In Committee

Matters taken in the absence of Press and Public (Public (Admissions to Meetings) Act 1960) as the item contains exempt information as defined by the Local Government Act 1972 Sch. 12a Pt (1).

22/154         Date of Next Meeting

The next Meeting of the Parish Council will be held on Wednesday 23rd November 2022 at 7.30pm in the John Lampon Hall, Orpen Memorial Hall, Lexden Road, CO6 3BW.

Meeting closed at 9.13 pm

Signed:                            Date:                     Position on Council:

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